Academics

The Frederick Gunn School values individuals and their ideas. Our students join generations of alumni before them who have learned to be curious, to question, to debate, reflect, and share what they know.

Small classes are the norm, with a student-teacher ratio of 5:1, which means that each student’s contributions are expected and welcomed. A comprehensive curriculum, with 118 courses to choose from (including 33 honors and AP classes, and Independent Study Projects (ISPs), helps our students to master different subjects and become confident articulating their ideas in spoken and written forms.

Our teachers are passionate about their subject matter and love what they do. Our students get to know them as their instructors, advisors, mentors, role models, coaches, and dorm parents. Their guidance and encouragement help students reach beyond their expectations and preconceived notions. Each student at The Frederick Gunn School receives the guidance, attention, and support of a team of talented faculty members dedicated to their academic and personal success.

The goals of our rigorous academic program are:

  • To develop in our students the lifelong learning and leadership skills they need to be active and responsible citizens, both locally and globally.

  • To prepare our students for what’s next as they continue to learn and grow, in college and in life.

Find out what makes academics at FGS different.

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A Day in a Student's Life

Academic News

Happy birthday Frederick Gunn

October 4th marked the 205th birthday of abolitionist, outdoorsman and school founder Frederick Gunn. In 2016, the school commemorated Mr. Gunn’s 200th birthday with a grand celebration that included an exhibit at the Judy Black Memorial Park & Gardens. This year, Head of School Peter Becker marked the occasion at School Meeting by sharing an excerpt from the eulogy the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher delivered on October 4, 1882, a little over a year after Mr. Gunn’s death. Friends and alumni gathered at the school the night before, and in the morning, filled the Meeting House on the Green. 
 

Marc Morial

Speaker Series Welcomes National Urban League President Marc Morial

On September 23, The Frederick Gunn School welcomed Marc Morial, who since 2003 has served as President and CEO of the National Urban League,  the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization, as the first featured guest in our 2021 Speaker Series. Morial was introduced to the school by Trustee and former Board Chair Jonathan S. Linen ’62, who formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Urban League, and whose father, the late James A. Linen III P’62, was the National Urban League Board President in the 1960s. 
 

Frederick Gunn standing, circa 1860 from the collection of the Gunn Historical Museum

The Gunn Historical Museum’s Guest Lecture Series resumes on Monday, September 13, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. with “Frederick Gunn: An American Original.” This presentation is being co-sponsored by the Gunn Historical Museum and The Frederick Gunn School and will be presented by Head of School Peter Becker, Bart McMann, Director of the Center for Citizenship and Just Democracy, and Emily Gum, Associate Head of School for Teaching and Learning.
 

The Frederick Gunn School flag

On May 31, one day after the school celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2021, underclassmen and faculty gathered for Investiture, during which the new student leaders, including the Prefect-Elects, are introduced. 

This year’s Investiture service was notable in that it featured the presentation of underclassmen prizes and awards that in a traditional year would have been awarded when the whole school gathered for Prize Night. To view the Investiture service in its entirety, including the presentation of these awards, visit the End-of-Year Events page.
 

English Department faculty

Roderick M. Theobald P’09 ’14 of the English Department faculty delivered the Baccalaureate Address on May 25, using his backpack as a metaphor for memory, as he spoke about the "picture memories" that ground us and guide us forward through life. Theobald is retiring at the end of this month, after four decades of teaching, including 23 years at The Frederick Gunn School. In keeping with tradition, as the Baccalaureate speaker he selected the readings for the all-school program, which included the Walt Whitman poem, “I Hear America Singing,” read by Ed Surjan, Educational Technology and Library Director, and Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese,” read by Kara Gritti of the History Department faculty. Theobald also selected a piece of music, “The Road Home,” by Stephen Paulus, which was performed by four senior vocalists: Erin-Elizabeth Ryan ’21, Drew Sutherland ’21, Yolanda Wang ’21, and Maggie Xiang ’21.
 

Judith Altmann

The 2021 Speaker Series concluded April 1 with a presentation by Holocaust survivor and Connecticut resident Judith Altmann, who shared her incredibly moving story. A member of the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Speakers Bureau and Vice President of the Holocaust Child Survivors of Connecticut, Altmann has extensive experience speaking in schools.
 

banding station on Kent Land Trust's Skiff Mountain South Preserve

By early April, seniors at The Frederick Gunn School are required to complete what’s known as the Civic Changemakers Project. A diploma requirement, it’s an opportunity for students to work independently on a service project in their local communities, and put into action what they have learned across the school’s four-year citizenship curriculum under the Center for Citizenship and Just Democracy